Lightning Tracker

For a long time I have wanted to make a lightning tracker, but it always seemed too difficult even though the idea behind it is rather simple.

The general idea behind detecting lighting is that each bolt produces a radio signal. If you tune a radio to this frequency you can detect and log the lightning.
The difficulty comes with ignoring the noisy environment around us.
If you have three detectors over a large area along with some accurate timing and some maths, it is even possible to mark on a map where the bolt occurred. The more accurate the clock time between the three detectors, the more precise the locating can be.

I recall seeing an Arduino or Raspberry Pi project using the board which was encouragement enough for a friend and myself to drop some cash on the board.
However, right from the start there were issues with both boards.

Mine started with constant detections of lightning. After hours worth of investigating I figured out that it was interference from a cooling fan in the enclosure. I disconnected this and the false detections went away, but then it produced nothing.
A number of storms went over with nothing detected. I then tried testing the board using numerous things that create sparks and even the fan with no success. I am not even sure if this is an appropriate method of testing.

The friend that picked up the other board lives in Darwin, Australia.
Darwin in the Wet Season receives almost daily thunderstorms. His board produced constant noise and no detections with storms passing directly over the top.

Months passed trying different things and reaching out to a few different people for advice, but it seems to just come down to dead boards.

It was a very disappointing project and I am unsure where to go from here.

Leave a Reply